Putting the person back into psychopathology: an intervention to reduce mental illness stigma in the classroom
- 1.8k Downloads
This research aims to compare the effectiveness of two methods of teaching psychopathology in reducing stigma toward mental illness. Based on previous stigma research, a first-person, narrative approach was contrasted with traditional, diagnosis-centered education.
Study 1 methods
Participants consisted of 53 undergraduates at a small, public university enrolled in two introductory psychology classes. During six hours of class time focused on psychopathology, one class received the experimental pedagogy while the other served as a control, receiving traditional instruction. Stigma was assessed pre- and post-intervention using a social distance scale and vignette design. Statistical analyses compared means and change scores between the two classes.
Study 1 results
Students in the experimental classroom showed a significant decrease in stigma following the intervention, whereas those in the control group showed no change.
Study 2 methods
A follow-up study was conducted to replicate the promising effects demonstrated in Study 1. Two additional classrooms (n = 48) were both exposed to the first-person, narrative pedagogy, and their stigma monitored pre- and post- intervention.
Study 2 results
Students reported a significant decrease in stigma following the intervention.
Together, these studies suggest that traditional methods of teaching psychopathology do not lessen mental illness stigma, a serious concern that can potentially be reconciled by incorporating more person-centered instructional methods. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the way psychopathology is taught throughout the mental health field, as well as the practical application of stigma interventions woven into the curriculum.
Keywordsstigma mental illness intervention perspective-taking teaching
- 1.Adelman C (2004) The empirical curriculum: changes in postsecondary course-taking, 1972–2000. US Department of Education, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 6.Chrisler J, Anderson D, Fleming M et al (2000) Teaching abnormal psychology through the arts and literature. In: Ware M, Lawrence JD (eds) Handbook of demonstrations and activities in the teaching of psychology. Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
- 10.Corrigan P (Ed) (2005) On the stigma of mental illness: practical strategies for research and social change. American Psychological Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- 12.Corrigan P, Penn D (2004) Lessons from social psychology on discrediting psychiatric stigma. In: Kowalski R (ed) Key readings in social psychology. Psychology Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 26.Mehta S, Farina A (1997) Is being “sick” really better? Effect of the disease view of mental disorder on stigma. J Soc Clin Psychol 16:405–419Google Scholar